All it takes is a little patience. And a lot of money.
Here’s a rundown of where things are.
Two companies are offering short “suborbital” jumps of a few minutes: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, founded by Richard Branson.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifts off vertically and the crew capsule detaches and crosses the Karman line (62 miles, or 100 kilometers, altitude), before falling back to Earth with three parachutes.
Virgin Galactic uses a massive carrier plane, which takes off from a horizontal runway and then drops a rocket-powered space plane. This, in turn, rises to more than 50 miles in elevation before returning.
In both cases, up to six passengers can unbuckle from their seats to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and gaze at Earth from space.
Virgin Galactic has said that scheduled commercial flights will begin in 2022, after two more test flights. Their waiting list is already long, with 600 tickets sold so far.
But the company predicts that it will eventually execute up to 400 flights per year. Two seats on one of the first flights are up for grabs in a prize draw – registrations are open until September 1.
As for Blue Origin, a detailed schedule has not been announced.
“We are planning two more flights this year, and then we are targeting many more in 2022,” a spokesperson told AFP.
Another way to get into space is through reality television. Space Hero, an upcoming show, says it plans to send the winner of a competition to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023.
The first tickets sold by Virgin Galactic cost between $ 200,000 and $ 250,000 each, but the company has warned that the cost of future sales will increase.
Blue Origin has not announced pricing. The anonymous winner of a public auction for a seat on the first crewed flight paid $ 28 million, but decided to postpone his trip.
It is not known what amount was bid for the seat insured by Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen, who will fly in place of the auction winner.
The more “budget conscious” might consider spending $ 125,000 for a seat at Space Neptune: a capsule that offers 360-degree windows and is lifted into the upper atmosphere by a balloon the size of a football stadium.
Despite the promise of spectacular views, the balloon climbs only 19 miles, far from the limit of space and weightlessness.
All 300 seats for 2024 have been sold, but reservations are open for 2025.
No, it is only expected to be in reasonable shape. Virgin Galactic training lasts only five days.
Blue Origin promises to teach you everything you need to know “the day before launch,” and its first crewed flight includes pioneering aviator Wally Funk, who at 82 will become the oldest astronaut.
The company’s requirements include being able to climb seven flights of stairs in less than 90 seconds (the height of the launch tower) and be between 5’0 “and 110 pounds (152 centimeters and 50 kilograms) and 6’4” and 223 pounds (193 cm and 100 kg).
Elon Musk’s company is also getting into the space tourism game, but their plans involve much longer journeys. The costs are also projected to be astronomical: tens of millions of dollars.
In September, American billionaire Jared Isaacman chartered a mission called Inspiration4 to take him and three other passengers into orbit around Earth in a SpaceX Crew Dragon, launched into space by a Falcon 9 rocket.
Then, in January 2022, three businessmen will travel to the ISS with an experienced astronaut. The mission, called Ax-1, is being organized by the company Axiom Space, which has signed up for another three future flights with SpaceX.
Elon Musk’s company is also planning an orbit trip for four people, organized by middleman Space Adventures, the same company in charge of Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa’s flight to the ISS in December, aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.
Maezawa is also supposed to make a trip around the Moon in 2023, this time aboard a rocket SpaceX is still developing, called the Starship.
He invited eight members of the public to join him, but applications are now closed.